(May 3) – House Democrats went into the 2019 session focused on building a fair economy that expands opportunity for all no matter what corner of the state you live in, investing in our future, and protecting the Colorado Way of Life. This year Colorado House Democrats were able to turn many of our popular proposals into law, moving forward on measures to build a fair economy, lower the cost of health care, invest in education, address climate change, tackle the opioid crisis, reform our criminal justice system and help hardworking Coloradans get ahead.
“Coloradans can be proud of the work that was accomplished this session. We made historic investments in K-12 and higher-ed and delivered results on climate, health care, and economic security,” said Speaker Becker. “Despite unprecedented obstructionism from the other side of the aisle we were able to deliver results for hardworking families in every corner of our state. My colleagues and I will continue working to expand opportunity, invest in Colorado’s future and enhance our quality of life.”
EXPANDING OPPORTUNITY & BUILDING A FAIR ECONOMY
Colorado’s economy is booming for some but not for all. Too many hardworking Coloradans aren’t seeing the benefit of our state’s progress and feel like they can’t get ahead. House Democrats made important progress on leveling out the playing field for all Coloradans:
Women, especially women of color, should be paid equally for equal work. House Democrats are committed to fighting for every Coloradan to be treated with the dignity, fairness and the respect they deserve. That’s why we passed SB19-085 to continue working on solutions to expand opportunity for all.
After years of trying, Democrats passed HB19-1210 to allow local governments to adjust their minimum wage up to address the cost of living in their communities, rather than have to adhere to a statewide standard when local real estate markets and health care costs vary dramatically.
House Democrats renewed our push to ensure access family and medical leave for hardworking Coloradans who need to take care of a sick relative or a new child. SB188 will help ensure an effective implementation of the best possible family leave policy for Coloradans.
INVESTING IN COLORADO’S FUTURE
Fighting for historic investments in K-12 and Higher Education: House Democrats passed bills to fund full-day kindergarten for Colorado’s youngest learners, invest in skills for Colorado’s emergingworkforce, help retain early childhood and rural educators, and allow school capital construction funding to be used for career and technical education projects in public schools. House Democrats also added an additional $100 million to buy-down the budget stabilization factor and better invest in our K-12 schools. Democrats also kept higher-ed tuition flat and provided more oversight for student loans.
Helping to lower the cost of health care: This session Democrats passed legislation to increase transparency for health care costs in Colorado’s hospitals, prohibit budget busting out-of-network billing, reduce the price of insulin and lower prescription drug costs by allowing for the importation of prescription drugs from Canada.
House Democrats also reached across the aisle to create a new affordable and competitive health care option in the state of Colorado that will be available to families and individuals when purchasing health insurance. Colorado will become the first state in the nation to ever set in place a process for offering a public health insurance option.
Democrats also passed a bill that will strengthen Colorado’s laws to allow healthcare cooperatives to incorporate consumer protections like coverage for preexisting conditions and allow the State Insurance Commissioner to work with groups seeking to create co-ops so that they can get up and running as soon as possible to provide health care cost relief for Coloradans.
PROTECTING & ENHANCING THE COLORADO WAY OF LIFE
Protecting Colorado’s Environment
Coloradans are concerned about the impacts of climate change on our economy and environment. That’s why Democrats passed reasonable, science-based legislation directing the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to develop rules limiting carbon pollution, ensuring that Colorado leads on climate action. HB19-1261 puts pollution reduction goals into statute to reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas pollution by 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050 of 2005 levels. The AQCC will hold an extensive stakeholder process throughout the rulemaking period.
House Democrats also passed SB181 to update Colorado’s antiquated oil and gas laws to protect families and individuals from residential drilling by putting health and safety first, empowering local communities, and protecting our clean air and clean water.
Addressing the Opioid Crisis: The opioid epidemic in the United States has claimed more lives than the entire Vietnam War. House Democrats continued to pass bipartisan bills to help battle this epidemic by getting people the care and treatment they need and addressing prescribing practices.
Delivering Transportation Solutions: Coloradans are tired of the lack of investment in roads, bridges, and transit. House Democrats worked on creative and collaborative solutions to our transportation problems. House Democrats worked to secure more than $300 million for transportation funding without jeopardizing education or higher-ed funding. In November, voters will decide on a bipartisan ballot measure better fund public schools, higher education and transportation.
Standing Up for Rural Colorado: Legislators on both sides of the aisle have worked to address the unique needs of rural Colorado. House Democrats passed legislation to deploy more broadband infrastructure, lower the cost of health care, improve access to mental health resources, increase affordable housing, address the rural teacher shortage, and combat the opioid crisis.
Supporting open and transparent government, fair campaigns, and access to the ballot:
House Democrats passed bills that would significantly increase access to the ballot and make our elections more secure through the passage of the Colorado Votes Act, Restore Voting Rights to Parolees, and Automatic Voter Registration. House Democrats also took on transparency and fairness in lobbying disclosures, campaign finance reform, electioneering communications disclosure, outreach for a complete count in the upcoming census, and more.
House Democrats also delivered on bipartisan efforts to reform Colorado’s criminal justice system and passed life-saving gun safety legislation, put a measure on the ballot to protect Colorado’s water, banned the dangerous and discredited practice of ‘conversion therapy’ and cut through red tape for transgender and non-binary Coloradans to have access to identity documents that reflect their authentic selves.